Plant diseases are a major threat to the world food supply, as up to 15 per cent of production is lost to pathogens. In the past, disease control and the generation of resistant plant lines protected against viral, bacterial or fungal pathogens, was achieved using conventional breeding based on crossings, mutant screenings and backcrossing. Many approaches in this field have failed or the resistance obtained has been rapidly broken by the pathogens. Recent advances in molecular biotechnology have made it possible to obtain and to modify genes that are useful for generating disease resistant crops. Several strategies, including expression of pathogen-derived sequences or anti-pathogenic agents, have been developed to engineer improved pathogen resistance in transgenic plants. Antibody-based resistance is a novel strategy for generating transgenic plants resistant to pathogens. Decades ago it was shown that polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies can neutralize viruses, bacteria and selected fungi. This approach has been improved recently by the development of recombinant antibodies (rAbs). Crop resistance can be engineered by the expression of pathogen-specific antibodies, antibody fragments or antibody fusion proteins. The advantages of this approach are that rAbs can be engineered against almost any target molecule, and it has been demonstrated that expression of functional pathogen-specific rAbs in plants confers effective pathogen protection. The efficacy of antibody-based resistance was first shown for plant viruses and its application to other plant pathogens is becoming more established. However, successful use of antibodies to generate plant pathogen resistance relies on appropriate target selection, careful antibody design, efficient antibody expression, stability and targeting to appropriate cellular compartments.